Know before you go
Parking informationCar park at Crook O'Lune
Access to the woods is now limited to the western end of the reserve. There is a short loop up into the woods and through Lawson's Meadow which is accessible from the Lune Valley Ramble running along part of the southern boundary. The path provides a snapshot of the variety of habitats that can be found throughout the reserve and provides excellent views out across the Lune Valley from the top of the meadow. Recent landslips have meant that the eastern end of the reserve and the previous access points into Cole Wood are no longer open to the public at present.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times.
Best time to visitYear-round
About the reserve
Aughton Woods is the kind of nature reserve that inspires poets and enthuses artists, especially during the springtime. Visit at this time of year and you’ll be overwhelmed by stunning carpets of azure bluebells that positively glow in the shafts of sunlight leaking through the trees.
But bluebells aren’t the only flowers that steal the show. Primroses, opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage, wood speedwell and foxgloves all grow in Aughton Woods, alongside various fern species and the very special wood fescue. The best place to see this rare UK grass is in the woodland’s damp ravines.
Aughton Woods’ remote location means you’ll be wrapped in a blanket of peace and solitude; birdsong the only sound. Look out for chiffchaffs, chaffinches and five species of tit as they flit from tree to tree, while nuthatches and treecreepers shimmy up the trunks and woodpeckers hammer into the bark. Excitingly, pied flycatchers are known to breed here, and evening walks may be haunted by the strange call of the woodcock.
As an ancient semi-natural woodland, Aughton Woods is interwoven with history. Abandoned charcoal heaths lay levelled out of the hillside and multi-stemmed trees grow up from stools last coppiced 70 – 100 years ago, when they were used for charcoal and leather tanning.
Small-leaved lime trees – considered indicators of ancient woodland – grow in the ravines along the western and southern edges of the wood, while Cole Wood brims with birch and Shire Oaks Wood is dominated by towering sessile oak trees.
Don’t discount the nearby River Lune, where oystercatchers and common sandpipers forage in the mud between February and August.